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Top 5 Tips for Making Your Next Conference Successful

Going to a conference is like going to Disney World- it is exciting and lots of fun!  Yet- to make the most of it you need to plan. Follow these five tips for making the most from each conference you are attending!

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Divide and conquer
  3. Network
  4. Get recommendations
  5. Schedule follow up
 1. Plan ahead

If you just walk into Disney World, unawares or unprepared, you will have a great time, but you might miss a meaningful experience.  Likewise with a conference. Plan ahead by learning about the conference keynote speaker.  Review sessions, and pre-select sessions you are interested in.  The more preparation you do before getting to the conference, the more you will get out of the conference.

 2. Divide and conquer

Talk with colleagues and devise a plan for covering as many sessions together as you can. Each person can take notes and report back to the group.  Expanding what you learn through friends and colleagues is fun and beneficial.

 3. Network

Make it a goal to meet many new people.  Network with people in all segments of the higher education scene- colleges, public and private high schools and independent educational consultants.  Making new friends and connecting with old friends makes for an enriching experience, and may lead to new connections.

 4. Get recommendations

There are lots of online tools and websites being developed with the needs of your students and parents in mind.  How do you evaluate which ones are quality and best to use? Make it a goal to ask.  Gather recommendations from colleagues and presenters to learn how well services or products perform.  Discuss benefits and limitations. Find ones that can save you time, money, and expand your expertise (such as GuidedPath).

 5. Schedule follow up

Once you leave the conference floor, you work is not done. Be sure to schedule time to follow up on the new contacts you made.  Write up the session notes to share. They make great blogs, or posts in professional forums. Record your college visit notes (GuidedPath will offer a tool to record college visits and college contacts- watch for details!)

Just like going to Disney World, as you attend a professional conference, how wonderful to know you are enhancing your professional expertise while having fun too!

Changing from Vendor to Attendees

One of our core company values is professional development.  Our popular Professional Development series, Best Practices and blogs are evidence of this.  In 2015, GuidedPath is applying the above five tips to our conference attendance too. You won’t see us in the vendor hall. Instead, look for Cyndy, Jo-Ann or others at the conference as attendees.  We will participate fully in the conference and bring this information back to you in webinars, blogs and more. In this way, we can further enhance your professional expertise through sharing and reporting.  So even if you aren’t able to attend, we can bring knowledge and insights back to share with you!

Don’t look for us in the vendor hall at upcoming conferences- Look for our attendees!

Upcoming Conferences- attending

  • Super ACAC : WACAC/PNACAC/RMACAC – (May 18-20)- Look for session with Cyndy McDonald, Jed Applerouth and Margaret Katz.
  • HECA (June 14-18)- As a founder and former board member, Cyndy is still actively involved, doing sessions and teaching.

Upcoming Conferences- not attending

  • IECA (May 6-8)-  The first one in over five years we have missed- but for good reason! Read why.

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